HALIFAX – A Nova Scotia woman has launched a line of greeting cards created for people living with depression or mental health issues.
The Cards of Compassion line feature nine designs, that mix a supportive message with a hint of humour.
“We definitely shouldn’t just be giving cards or letting people know that we’re thinking about them only during the happy times. It should also be during the hard times as well,” said Anita Bezanson, the founder of Rhubarb Paper Co.
Bezanson was inspired to make the cards after her own experiences with depression, which included a suicide attempt at the age of 14 and post-partum depression after the birth of her first son.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate to give someone a card that says ‘cheer up.’ It’s really not that easy,” she said.
“We need to delve a little deeper and let the person know what you would do for them or that you’re kind of being compassionate about what they’re going through.”
Bezanson launched her business back in March and her products are already sold in 40 stores in Canada, the US and Australia.
Inkwell Boutique carries the Cards of Compassion line and owner Andrea Rahl says she’s noticed a demand for them from customers.
“We’ve actually been getting requests for compassion cards,” said Rahl.
“Often times, when there’s been an unfortunate event or people are suffering, people don’t know how to reach out and say that they’re for them. So, her cards basically help you with that message.”
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Bezanson is also working to partner with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and plans to donate five per cent from the proceeds of these cards to mental health initiatives.
The CMHA’s Halifax-Dartmouth branch office on Gottingen Street has a storefront where they sell artwork in support of their programs, and the association has invited Bezanson to sell her cards there as well.
The branch’s co-manager, Margaret Murray, says the cards will help people find the right words when reaching out to loved ones living with mental illness or mental health problems.
“They’re very heartfelt,” said Murray.
“I can tell Anita is coming from her own lived experience, which I think makes them very genuine so I think it’s an excellent idea.”